Hello, this is Iino.
This time I would like to talk about preparing for an interview, when changing jobs as a forwarder.
Last time, I made a video about incomes by changing jobs as a forwarder salesperson. The link to that video is posted in the overview section, so please take a look if you’re interested.
This video will talk about what employers look for, when interviewing candidates and what kind of candidates they want to hire.
So let’s get to it.
IINO san’s experience of job interview
First of all, let me give you some background on my job interview as a forwarder. I am currently in my fifth year of running my own company in Thailand.
It’s a small company with only 20 employees at the moment, but that’s why I, as the president, interview job seekers by myself. I have interviewed more than 50 people so far, and I have had direct discussions with many candidates who want to change their jobs to sales or CS.
This story is mainly based on my personal experience, but I hope it will be helpful.
Job interview for a salesperson
This time, I would like to talk about hiring interviews for salespeople. Depending on the company, there are two types of sales positions,: one is to follow up with existing customers, and the other is to acquire new customers.
The skills required for these two types of sales are different.
Salespeople who follow up with existing customers
First, for follow-up sales for existing customers, the main purpose of this is to follow up on customers who have already done business with us.
While there are some cases that booking and documentation arrangements are handled by the CS, in this position, the sales handle any problems that arise with existing customers, and prepares estimates that are revised monthly.
Also, when a customer decides to do new business in another country or transport new goods, they will check applicable regulations and suggest the most suitable shipping company or airline service.
Skills required in existing sales
What is required of this salesperson is the ability to detect customer problems quickly, and the communication skills to create a relationship similar to that of a friend.
Since you need to follow-up a company which you already have a business relationship, it is important to build a relationship with the customer’s representative, so that they can feel free to talk to you about their problems. If you can’t do this, you will be switched when a superior salesperson from a competitor appears.
What the interviewer is looking for in existing sales
During the interview, I mainly look at the way you speak, whether you speak cheerfully and pleasantly, and your speech is easy to understand. In case that you have no experience as a forwarder, I think it would not be easy to get a job if you don’t excel in this area.
It is difficult to judge the accuracy of your works only from an interview. Still, I refer to it by checking your resume is well- written, and by looking at your appearance.
New customer development sales
Next is the interview for hiring a salesperson to develop new customers.
In order to get a new customers, you need to be able to sell aggressively to new companies, and have the communication skills to get into the other person’s pocket in a short time.
In our company, we compare this to hunter sales. I can feel the sense of “hunter” for people with this skill within about 30 minutes of the interview.
They are moderately aggressive, and talk as if they are performing by themselves. Also they have the willingness to ask questions, even during the interview.
By the way, there were only two people who I felt that sense during the interview in the past.
I think this has something to do with the commission structure of our company. With the system and scale of our company, it is rare to find such excellent people.
Problem solving skills
And one thing that all of these forwarder sales positions, have in common is the ability to deal with problems, because problems happen very often in the forwarder business.
In our company, we ask the candidates that what the biggest problem they experienced in the past is, and how they dealt with it.
And we ask a lot of other questions during the interview. There is no one right answer, but there are some answers that interviewers like. It is a good idea to understand what a forwarder does, think about what is expected of the person applying for the position, and prepare accordingly.
Forwarder’s Resume and Curriculum Vitae
And your resume and curriculum vitae are also important. When I’m interviewing, I look at past work performance, a number of job changes, length of tenure, previous salary, and desired salary. I rarely pay attention to educational background.
Since this is a job interview for a salesperson, I am interested in what kind of work you have accomplished in the past. If you have written your achievements in numbers, I will be interested.
Essential Information for a Salesperson
If you are a salesperson to follow-up existing customers, how long you kept your existing customers, and how much you grew from them.
If you are a salesperson to develop a new customer, how many new customers how long, and how much money you sold to.
These are basic information.
As for other information, it is better to write about the problems you encountered in the past, and how you dealt with them. Some interviewers may not ask that, however problem-solving skills are an absolute must in a forwarder.
Number of Job Changes and Tenure
The next thing to consider is the number of times you have changed jobs and the length of your tenure. For example, if you change jobs every year, even if I hire you, I would expect you to quit after one year. The longer your tenure was in the past, the more likely I feel that you will work for a long time at our company.
For employers, hiring is a costly process. Asking a recruiting agent or posting on a job search site alone can be expensive, and job interviews can take a lot of time.
In that sense, employers need to know that you will work for a long time. It’s not a bad thing to increase your income as a job hopper, but I sincerely hope that you’ll do what you need to do before changing jobs.
Previous Salary and Desired Salary
Then we also consider your previous salary and your desired salary. From the employer’s point of view, they want to hire good people at the lowest possible price. But I know that the world is not so easy.
However, the most important thing for employers to avoid is, to hire people who they think are good and pay high salaries, but in reality, they can’t do the job very well.
This may be a problem on the part of the employer, who may not fully utilize the talent. However, in a small to medium-sized company like ours, the president even conducts the interviews himself.
Unfortunately, we can’t put 100% of our time and effort into hiring, so there are things that we overlook.
I have never done recruitment in Japan, so I don’t know, but my experience in Thailand, job seekers sometimes embellish their achievements.
If they are just embellishing, it’s rather cute, but there are cases where they are lying. There have been times when I have failed to hire a candidate because I ignored the uncomfortable feeling of conversation in the interview. On the other hand, there have been times when a candidate turned out to be surprisingly good even though I was anxious whether he or she is ok.
In fact, there are many things we cannot understand in a 30-minute interview.
Valuing the Trial Period
That’s why there is a trial period of about three months. This prevents mismatches between employers and job seekers. This is an important period not only for the employer but also for the job seeker.
They said shiny things on their website and in the interview, but what is the reality? Is there any coordination between sales and CS? Do salespeople have to participate in the operation actively? Isn’t the quota too hard? And so on.
As a job seeker, you may want to finish the trial period as soon as possible, but it’s also very important to find out if the company is suitable for you or not in this period by confirming above points of doubt.
It is legally difficult for employers to fire employees after this period. So, if employers feel that you are not a good fit during this period, they can choose not to hire you, therefore if you feel that you are not a good fit, you can also quit.
Personally, I think the sooner is the better, because it’s a pain to keep working for a company that doesn’t suit you.
The following is a general list of things that are important in a job interview.
A clear and crisp speech.
Show up on time.
Speak while making eye contact.
Don’t talk too long.
You can find information about these in books and on the Internet, so I think you should refer to those.
Now, let’s summarize this story.
This time, I talked about the theme of hiring interviews for forwarder salespeople. There are two main types of sales positions,: those that follow up with existing customers and develop new customers.
What is required for each position is different. For salespeople who work with existing customers, they need to be able to detect problems quickly. Communication skills that can create a relationship similar to that of a friend are required.
And in new business sales, the interviewer is looking for proactiveness and the ability to communicate like people.
The points to look for in a resume and curriculum vitae are past work performance, a number of job changes, length of time in the job, previous salary, and desired salary.
Employment is a match between the employer and the job seeker. For both sides to have a win-win situation, I think it’s best to discuss the important things during the interview first, and then use the trial period to determine if you and the company are a good fit or not.
Considering a career change can make you aware of yourself as a commodity. If you need a higher income, you need to go out and sell yourself to a place that will buy you at a higher price.
When you change jobs, the achievements and experiences you have accumulated will be presented to the public as your career. When you think about it like that, doesn’t it make you feel a bit more prepared for your daily activities?
I hope this story will be helpful to you. If you haven’t subscribed to my channel yet, please do so at the end of this video.
That’s all for now. Thank you very much!
Contact to IINO san